Amended Healthy Utah bill deserves House vote

SALT LAKE CITY (Feb. 25, 2015) – House leadership opted to deny rank-and-file members the opportunity to represent their constituents and debate the amended version of the Healthy Utah plan passed by the Senate today.

“The decision by House leadership to prevent the representatives of the people from hearing public comment–pro or con–and then voting on such an important issue is alarming and should be of significant concern to citizens across our state,” said Gov. Gary R. Herbert. “All Utahns deserve transparency and accountability from their elected officials, particularly when their inaction is, by default, a vote to give the federal government $800 million per year of Utah taxpayer money while getting almost nothing in return.”

The substitute bill, known as Healthy Utah 2.0, is a two-year program that recaptures all available federal funds and covers an estimated 126,000 Utahns. The plan uses existing funds to cover costs to the state, making Healthy Utah 2.0 by far the most effective use of Utah taxpayer dollars of any plan proposed, including the House approach to doing nothing.

“I commend the Senate, and Sen. Brian Shiozawa in particular, for standing with the vast majority of Utahns to bring our hard-earned tax dollars back to Utah from Washington, D.C. While trying to provide some of our most vulnerable citizens with access to health insurance, we have worked diligently to address concerns raised by legislators in both chambers. Healthy Utah 2.0 deserves the strong consideration and open debate of the full House of Representatives.”

Healthy Utah 2.0 represents a 37-to-1 return on investment while providing health coverage to nine times as many individuals as any proposal thus far. The plan provides certainty while allowing Utah to fully reconsider its health care options in 2017 under a new presidential administration.

Gov. Herbert will meet with reporters tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. during his regularly scheduled monthly news conference at KUED.